Announced on February 14, 1946, ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was the result of work funded by the United States Army Ballistics Research. The Army needed a way to speed the process and improve the accuracy of calculating artillery firing tables.
It took a year to design and 18 months to build, but John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert of the University of Pennsylvania were able to deliver. A skilled person with a desk calculator could compute a 60 second trajectory in about 20 hours, but the ENIAC required only 30 seconds.
It was worked on in secret by the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering under the code name Project PX, and was programmed by six women.
ENIAC was the first programmable general-purpose electronic computer, and cost $500,000 to build. The ENIAC contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, along with 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, 1,500 relays, 6,000 manual switches and 5 million soldered joints. It covered 1800 square feet of floor space, weighed about 30 tons, and consumed 160 kilowatts of electrical power.
This is your father’s laptop.